State Fire Marshal’s Office Highlights Burn Awareness Week
NASHVILLE – February 1-7 is National Burn Awareness Week, and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office is joining the American Burn Association to encourage scald and burn prevention.
“Although anyone can sustain a scald burn, certain people are more likely to be scalded – infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities. These high-risk groups are also more likely to require hospitalization, suffer complications and experience a difficult recovery,” said Tennessee Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “Most burn injuries occur in the person’s own home, and the vast majority of these injuries can be prevented.”
Scald injuries are painful and require prolonged treatment. Depending on their severity, they can result in lifelong scarring or even death. Preventing scalds can be accomplished through simple changes in behavior and the home environment.
Follow these tips to decrease the risk of scalds and burns to yourself and those you love:
Prevent tap-water scalds and burns
- Adequate and constant supervision is the single most important factor in preventing tap water scalds. Provide constant adult supervision of young children, anyone who might experience difficulty removing themselves from hot water on their own, or people who might not recognize the danger associated with turning on the hot water.
- Set water heater thermostats to deliver water at a temperature no higher than 120° F.
- Mix bath water thoroughly and check the temperature by moving your elbow, wrist or hand with spread fingers through the water before allowing someone to get in.
- Turn the faucet to the “COLD” position when not in use if the tub has a single faucet handle.
- When bathing young children, position them away from faucets to prevent them from being able to reach faucet knobs. Again, keep faucets set to the “COLD” position.
Prevent cooking-related scalds and burns
- To prevent spills due to the overturning of appliances containing hot food or liquids, use the back burner when possible, and or turn pot handles away from the stove’s front edge (or any edge where someone could bump into the pot handles). All appliance cords need to be kept coiled and away from counter edges.
- Use oven mitts or potholders when moving hot food from ovens, microwave ovens or stovetops. Never use wet oven mitts or potholders, because they can cause scald burns. Replace old or worn-out oven mitts.
- Open heated food containers slowly, away from the face, to avoid steam burns. Steam escaping from the container or from food can cause burns.
- Foods heat unevenly in microwave ovens. Stir and test before eating.
- Young children are at high risk of being burned by hot food and liquids. Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of three feet around the stove, or around any place where hot food or drink is being prepared or carried.
- Keep hot foods and liquids away from table edges and counter edges.
- When young children are present, use the stove's back burners whenever possible.
- Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
- Teach children to treat the kitchen with respect and caution – not as a play area but as a place where injuries can occur.